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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I'm looking at setting up my first saltwater aquarium i have been doing a lot of research and i have decided i want to do a fowlr in a 20 gallon long tank I've had for awhile.I've had lots of experience with keeping fish in the past and am actually running a freshwater tank right now :-D. I have most of the supplies already, here are the things i already have:

-a heater
-salt mix
-ammonia,PH,nitrite,and nitrate test kits
-a BIG HOB tetra filter
-tank
-fluorescent light
-hydrometer
-crushed coral
-thermometer
- and I'm in the process of trying to find a protein skimmer

:| please tell me if theirs anything i need besides what i already have, and if you could help on how to do water changes and maintain the tank.

Thanks
 

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At least 20 lbs of Live Rock, for natural filtration. For water changes, mix up the mix at least 24 hours before the change. you want to change 1/4 of the water every 2-3 weeks. Watch your Nitrates in a FOWLR, as these might creep up on you if your doing every 3 week changes, you may need to change it to every 2 weeks.
 

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I agree you will need at least 20 lbs of live rock or more and I would also suggest about 20 lbs of live sand too, it will help serve the same purpose as the live rock and provide more natural filtration. Clean the sand thoroughly if you decide to get some. I cleaned mine by putting the sand into a clean bucket and added tap water that I treated with Amquel an ammonia and nitrate remover (I used tap water to clean the sand because Using my RO/DI to clean the sand would be a little expensive) then swirled the sand around and dump out the water and then add more treated tap water until the water was less cloudy (about 5 times each sand load) there are other ways that you could clean the sand as well thats just my way:-D. You may already know this but only use RO/DI water when doing water changes and one more thing you could put on your list of things to get is at least 2 water jugs to store back up RO/DI water for top offs or water changes. Reef Madness is right FOWLRS tend to get nitrate spikes and sometimes when this happens to my FOWLR I do small daily water changes until my water params look good. Good luck!
 

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I agree you will need at least 20 lbs of live rock or more and I would also suggest about 20 lbs of live sand too, it will help serve the same purpose as the live rock and provide more natural filtration. Clean the sand thoroughly if you decide to get some. I cleaned mine by putting the sand into a clean bucket and added tap water that I treated with Amquel an ammonia and nitrate remover (I used tap water to clean the sand because Using my RO/DI to clean the sand would be a little expensive) then swirled the sand around and dump out the water and then add more treated tap water until the water was less cloudy (about 5 times each sand load) there are other ways that you could clean the sand as well thats just my way:-D. You may already know this but only use RO/DI water when doing water changes and one more thing you could put on your list of things to get is at least 2 water jugs to store back up RO/DI water for top offs or water changes. Reef Madness is right FOWLRS tend to get nitrate spikes and sometimes when this happens to my FOWLR I do small daily water changes until my water params look good. Good luck!
:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree you will need at least 20 lbs of live rock or more and I would also suggest about 20 lbs of live sand too, it will help serve the same purpose as the live rock and provide more natural filtration. Clean the sand thoroughly if you decide to get some. I cleaned mine by putting the sand into a clean bucket and added tap water that I treated with Amquel an ammonia and nitrate remover (I used tap water to clean the sand because Using my RO/DI to clean the sand would be a little expensive) then swirled the sand around and dump out the water and then add more treated tap water until the water was less cloudy (about 5 times each sand load) there are other ways that you could clean the sand as well thats just my way:-D. You may already know this but only use RO/DI water when doing water changes and one more thing you could put on your list of things to get is at least 2 water jugs to store back up RO/DI water for top offs or water changes. Reef Madness is right FOWLRS tend to get nitrate spikes and sometimes when this happens to my FOWLR I do small daily water changes until my water params look good. Good luck!
yes,i am working on getting live rock i was told the more rock you put in you tank the easier it will cycle, my tank is a twenty gallon long,i was also told that crushed coral works good for a fowlr because it stables the ph? i don't know if that is 100% true or not.Also my water isn't tap water it is well water i use it for all my freshwater aquariums and it dose fine i don't have to add anything to it like you would with tap water,does that also apply with saltwater?Also do i really need a a protein skimmer? people are telling me i don't need one because im not doing corals and my tank isn't big enough to require one?
 

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As long as you keep up on water changes, then no, you don't need a skimmer. Skimmers remove organics from the water column before they can become an issue. ie, Nitrates. I use Crushed Coral #0 in my tank, never had an issue with PH. As far as using Well Water, it all depends on whats in it. Salt creatures don't like alot of crap in the water. you'll have to test it and see if it contains anything harmful.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ok,everyone is saying i need live sand in a fowlr because it reduces nitrate spikes it that true?also my water is fine it doesn't have any chlorine or anything in it
 

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ok,everyone is saying i need live sand in a fowlr because it reduces nitrate spikes it that true?also my water is fine it doesn't have any chlorine or anything in it
No, you do not need Live Sand if you don't want to use it. Its not necessary for a FOWLR. You could use CC, or go Bare Bottom. Its up to you on this one. Try to stay away from big Crushed Coral type substrait, as it will get hold of food debre and turn it into a Nitrate factory on you. Crushed Coral in the Xfine +0 is fine.
 

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That is true you don't have to have live sand if you don't want. Plenty of people do bare bottom tanks. The Live sand will just help with the nitrates just like the live rock because they are natural filters and if you plan on getting any wrasses or sand dwelling fish it will make them feel more at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok i've had my tank setup for about a week now all i have in it is my crushed coral and saltwater and my heater, unfortunatly my filter broke i should be getting a marineland biowheel 350 tomarrow, the guy at my saltwater only aquarium store said it will be really hard to keep the nitrates down, to be honest im kinda worried about that should i just go ahead and get a skimmer? Would that help in anyway? Also im getting about 35-40 LB's of marshall island live rock
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A skimmer is defiantly going to help keep the nitrates down. You don't have to have a skimmer in the beginning of your cycling process though, in fact some recommend not using one until the tank is cycled and you have fish so that the skimmer has bio load to skim. I would recommend getting a skimmer especially because you have crushed coral which it can be a breeding ground for nitrates. Also I wouldn't consider your true cycling process started until you have put the live rock in because that needs to cure for 3-6 weeks before the water quality to be stable to add livestock. You are also bound to have a nitrate or ammonia spikes during the cycling process, just get your filter running and maintain the salinity by topping off the water and then watch the nitrite, nitrates, ammonia, and PH and the hardest part I know but be patient that is the key to this hobby :lol:
 

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Ok i've had my tank setup for about a week now all i have in it is my crushed coral and saltwater and my heater, unfortunatly my filter broke i should be getting a marineland biowheel 350 tomarrow, the guy at my saltwater only aquarium store said it will be really hard to keep the nitrates down, to be honest im kinda worried about that should i just go ahead and get a skimmer? Would that help in anyway? Also im getting about 35-40 LB's of marshall island live rock
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Ok cool, your getting set here. Scrap the filter. its going to be a Nitrate trap for you. you'll have issues with it. Buy a skimmer rated at twice the size of your tank. That with the Live Rock your getting and your all set. You don't need a filter. Look at my tank, I have 240 gallons, and no filter, just the skimmer. Oh, but you will need a couple of powerheads to move the wate raround in the tank. Couple of 200gph powerheads should do ya nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
k thanks guys your really helping me out here.... i really had know idea what i had to get or do bcuz people where just trying to get me to buy stuff that i obviously DON'T NEED
 

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If you are still going to get the HOB filter I would suggest getting a AquaClear filter instead of the marineland, I have both types of filters and the AquaClear is better. You can add Chemi Pure in the Aqua clear which will help stabilize your water chemistry by balancing the PH and keeping bacteria from building up. The Mairneland is noisier too... I have read not to add carbon/Chemi-pure in the very beginning of the cycling process. I would suggest to add carbon (or Chemi-Pure if you decide to get the AquaClear HOB Filter) about 2-3 weeks after you have added your live rock. The reason is, in the beginning you want the beneficial bacteria to build up but then you have to control it and that is where the carbon or media filter (chemi-pure) comes in. One more thing have you tested the freshwater you use to mix the salt? It might be loaded with ammonia or nitrates and if so you can treat it with AmQuel which help remove the toxins. I would highly recommend, If it possible, for you to use RO/DI water instead of well water. I am supper careful about the water I use now because I have learned the hard way before.

Here is a link to a website explaining the benefits to Chemi- pure

Chemi-Pure filters organic particulates from your tank.
 

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If you are still going to get the HOB filter I would suggest getting a AquaClear filter instead of the marineland, I have both types of filters and the AquaClear is better. You can add Chemi Pure in the Aqua clear which will help stabilize your water chemistry by balancing the PH and keeping bacteria from building up. The Mairneland is noisier too... I have read not to add carbon/Chemi-pure in the very beginning of the cycling process. I would suggest to add carbon (or Chemi-Pure if you decide to get the AquaClear HOB Filter) about 2-3 weeks after you have added your live rock. The reason is, in the beginning you want the beneficial bacteria to build up but then you have to control it and that is where the carbon or media filter (chemi-pure) comes in. One more thing have you tested the freshwater you use to mix the salt? It might be loaded with ammonia or nitrates and if so you can treat it with AmQuel which help remove the toxins. I would highly recommend, If it possible, for you to use RO/DI water instead of well water. I am supper careful about the water I use now because I have learned the hard way before.

Here is a link to a website explaining the benefits to Chemi- pure

Chemi-Pure filters organic particulates from your tank.
:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
i just orderd some fiji premium live rock about 25LB's what do i do when it gets here do i have to cure it? do i have to add anything in the water to start the cycle?
 

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And wait so i don't need a filter not even a little one? Because if i don't i can send mine back and get a protein skimmer cuz the one i got is rated up to 60 gallons i thought the bigger the filter the better? Plus it has two bio wheels if tht even does anything?
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And wait so i don't need a filter not even a little one? Because if i don't i can send mine back and get a protein skimmer cuz the one i got is rated up to 60 gallons i thought the bigger the filter the better? Plus it has two bio wheels if tht even does anything?
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Send it back and get a skimmer rated at twice your water volume.:-D
 

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The bio wheels are mainly for fresh water I removed them for my tank. It is good to have a filter for adding media (carbon) to the tank but a skimmer is more effective at removing organic waste that will eventually break down into ammonia. A filter will remove the larger floating particles in the water and sometimes those particles will build up and clog the filter and create nitrates, that is why you have to clean your filter every once in a while. A skimmer will collect all the waste in a cup and it is easy to dump.

Personally I use a AquaClear filter (with Chemi-Pure) and a Remora skimmer in my 37 gallon reef and my nitrates/ammonia (knock on wood) are always at zero. In my 75 gallon Fish only I have 2 skimmers (Remora and a Coralife Super Skimmer) and a Marineland filter (with just carbon) and I have a really hard time with keeping my nitrates down. I think that the Chemi-Pure in my AquaClear filter stabilizes the water quality in my 37 gallon. Every tank will have it's own specific needs and in the beginning that is a part of the process to try and figure it out.

You can put the live rock in your tank, run the filter or skimmer, keep the water circulating and maintain the salinity by topping off the water with RO/DI and eventually the nitrates/ammonia from the live rock will decrease. You don't have to do a water change for the first 2-3 weeks. If your nitrates and ammonia are high after 2-3 wks you can do a % water change then. Once the Parameters stabilize without anymore spikes then it is cycled and safe to start adding livestock.

Is your tank going to be a Fish only with Live Rock (FOWLR) or a reef? Snails and hermit crabs are an excellent clean up crew to eat algae and excess food that doesn't get eaten and they keep the ammonia and nitrates down but if you plan on having a FOWLR with a trigger/puffer then you can't have the snails and crabs because the trigger/puffers will eat them...
 
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